Saturday, 26 March 2011

Stage Layout Design

Prehaps the single most important part of any production is the stage layout, whilst we had to design many things, this is the aspect of production which required the greatest amount of time and attention, as our set design was based around the space allocated. We took measurements of the actual stage and made rough plans which included a scale model of it at a ratio of 1:25. Using this a an outline, we were able to create props to see how it will fit against the stage.

During the process of laying out the stage, i was able to endorse skills which i had previously lernt, for example with any production there is a necessity to run through the design layout before hand, whether the show is on a small scale or a grand one regardless of its genre. If the layout is created efficiently, it increases the likelihood of a successful show, and allows events to run smoothly.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Health and Safety in a Theatre

Things you may want to consider during the production:
·         Use of power  tools – Wear safe equipment
·         Cutting equipment – Using cutting mats, cut away from the body
·         Use of paint & glue/ solvents – Using water based
·         Heavy lifting – Work in groups, bend knees not backs
·         Don’t walk around with sharp tools
·         Ensure the action props were safe for the performers – Props, breathing, covering sharp objects, keeping it cool inside

·         Crowd control – Managing crowd safely, Controlling ticket sales, Legal limit for venue, clear sign posts, staff on the door, crowd positioning (seating plan)
·         Stage blackout (Tripping/ Falling/ colliding into each other) – Use of torches, scenery positions were marked clearly
·         Height hazard (Falling off the stage)- Put safety markers around the stage, Pulling curtains down during blackouts
·         Moving scenery around – Specific rehearsed job roles
·         Fire – clear announcements, signs, usual fire precautions

Friday, 7 January 2011

Publishing the Event

As a basis of my poster I used a combination of the directors ideas, my own and the rest of my group, which we conjured up using a mind map. I also looked at posters from other shows to give me inspiration and use as a template of what should be included. I analysed many images from Google of previous “little shop of horrors“ posters and looked at the positives and negatives. Once I looked at a variety of these pieces, I incorporated what I thought went well from each to get to my own unique final product.

These posters were made in relevance to the target audience, which was family of actors, members of staff and the students that study that the school. As we were aware that much of the audience would consist of school children, I ensured the use of light vibrant colours, with intresting typography and imagery. The front needed to be large and eye catching in order for the target audience to be interested in coming to the show. The promotional side of the production is arguable the most important, as creating a production would be pointless without an audience. We also had to make sure we sold enough tickets to cover the expenses and the effort that each individual invested into making the production possible.

It was necessary to consider legal rights, as the play was not copyrighted by the school, it was already an established musical, these are the legal rights:

Book & lyrics by HOWARD ASHMAN
Based on the film by Roger Corman Screenplay by Charles Griffith
Originally produced by the WPA Theatre (Kyle Renick, Producing Director)
Originally produced at the Orpheum Theatre, New York City, by the WPA theatre David Geffen, Cameron Mackintosh and the Shubert Organisation.
(**The following acknowledgements shall appear in a separate box or area on the production staff information page of all theatre programmes**)
was originally directed by Howard Ashman : Musical staging by Edie Cowan.

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with JOSEF WEINBERGER LTD. on behalf of MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL of NEW YORK

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Jobs in a Theatre

Theatre designer - Theatre designers, also known as scenic designers, usually work directly with the

Producer - A Theatre Producer is a person who is responsible for overseeing the creation of a theatre production. The producer may be responsible for securing money for the production, either through his or her own company or by taking on investors in the production. The producer also hires the production team which include many of the jobs below at their own choice.

Director - A theatre director, also know as a stage director, is a someone in the field of theatre who oversees and organises everything in a theatre production. The director's role is to ensure that the quality of theatre production is to perfection and to lead the members of the creative team into realising their inspiration for it all. Therefore, the director merges with a team of imaginative individuals, as well as other staff, for the production.

Lighting designer - The role of a lighting designer in a theatre is to work with other members to create an overall ‘look’ of the show while keeping safety and cost in mind. Outside of the theatre the job of a
Lighting Designer can be much more diverse as they work on other things such as rock and pop tours, big celebrations and even the Olympics.

Musical director - A Music Director or Director of Music is a person who orchestrates

Stage manager - The role of this person is to organize and coordinate between various people such as the director and the backstage crew, or actors and production management. This person has overall responsibility for stage management.

Stage crew - The stage crew are people who work backstage or behind the scenes. Their duties include setting up the scenery, lights, sound, props, rigging, and special effects for a production.

Choreographer - A choreographer is a person who designs a sequence of movements, this can be used in many places and ways. People mostly use this person to ‘Choreograph’ a dance routine.

Prop master - A prop master is a person who give the construction crew an idea of what props to build. He decides whether these props are appropriate for the production.

Construction manager - A construction manager is the overall planning, co-ordination and control of a project from aimed at the client’s requirements. All this must be complete within a certain time and also a allocated budget.

Dresser - Dressers are responsible for assisting cast members with costume changes backstage, when necessary. The also have to maintain the quality of that costume for each performance completed. This may acquire them to fix, or even buy a completely new costume for the actor.
Publicists - A publicists job is to generate publicity for target audience. They usually create press conferences and deal with posters and leaflets which are handed out to the general public. This usually increases sales of the production so it becomes more renown.
director and producer, they must select the settings to visually tell the story. They have a lot of responsibility in the group as they have to have to cater to all of the directors needs. They also guides key staff in other departments such as the costume designer, the special effects director and the locations manager to show a combined visual appearance for the set. Not only does the person conduct the concert but also decides what music the orchestra will perform. The musical director is depended upon so he can make the correct atmosphere for the people.

Audience Research

I had many question to as our director as we needed to find out who our target audience is. These questions where asked fluently by the group so each and every person agreed upon what the audience is. We had all participated and had our say within the choices we had made, all our decisions were unanimous. We also had set a budget at this point alongside how many seats had to be placed over our acquired location. I also made an audience survey, I asked around 10 people the following the questions:

  • Did you find the show entertaining?
  • Did the props work well throughout the show?
  • If there was something you could improve what will it be?
  • Was the plant scary (please remember this is a children’s play)?
  • Did your seating area have a good sightline?
Once both days of the show had been complete, we took in the feedback and read through it thoroughly. Most of our feedback was positive but we did have some negatives. A majority of the audience pointed out how ‘stunning’ the plant (Audrey II) was built, this showed we had great prop building skills and boosted many of my groups confidence. As this was a success, next time I partake in a similar task, I will use the skills I have learnt to improve any unnecessary fault that may have occurred this time.

Evaluation of the Unit

I have learnt much from participating in this task, it is extremely difficult to construct a specific set and cater to ones needs so concisely. The department asked for specific props, in specific styles fit for a 1950’s New York, which is very much different to a 21st century one. The idea of my work being on show to the public is different to what I am used to, my work is usually very privatised only shared between me and close friends. However due to extensive audience, I worked even harder to produce something that is eye catching and draws the audiences’ attention in.
Whilst I found that there were some difficulties with deadlines; we were able to gather all the materials needed and complete the set on time to the best of our ability. Deadlines are vitally important as props need to be completed within a time scale to ensure that the program and the rehearsals ran smoothly. Without key deadlines there may have been a chance that we were unable to finish the set, by issuing them ourselves we ensured everything was done on time.

I believe that I have gained a small insight on how professionals work in the theatre industry, I now know a lot more about theatre production than I did from when I started the unit. However their set is on a much larger scale than our own, so I do not believe that I fully comprehend the time and effort that it takes for professional live performance although I am under the impression that the process would be similar to the one that we went through.

I believe I contributed immensely to my group; I led the construction and the design of the three plants which I was very proud of. I used my IT skills and made posters to advertise and promote the set, this I deem to be of great importance as these posters had to be appealing to draw in the paying viewer. In addition to contructing the plant which was the main prop of the play, I helped to build many other props for example chairs, tables and flowers.

Overall the department that we were constructing for were extremely pleased with our final set design. I found this to be a very worth while task, as it reinforced my team working skills, my ability to take and lead a group and also work independently on a given task.

Client Meeting

After a long discussion with the head of the drama department Mrs Jones, we were informed that one of our Units was to produce a production by the name of “ little shop of horrors.”
In our first meeting we presented her with a rough outline of different props that could be used, and how they can be customised specifically for the play for example; the plant which was a focal point of the production, had to open and close from the mouth. We also presented ideas for advertisement and posters, to draw in the audience, in addition to that we also created a miniature version of the set at the scale of 1:25. Our first meeting went exceedingly well.

She gave a lot of feedback with positives and negatives, which were both taken into consideration, she wanted to know the weight of the plant as this may have been an issue of concern. She also wanted to know how quickly the props and set could be created as she wished to start rehearsals with props as soon as possible. This had considerable affect on our design work as we had a deadline to work to, which was set up in our first meeting. This meant that we needed to work quickly and efficiently making good use of our time, this also meant that there was a necessity to split tasks between the group and each group member to take the initiative.

She also gave us an indication of how she wanted the layout of the posters and the colour scheme of it, as there was certain colours which would characterise the production, which is an idea that I incorporated in the creation of the posters.

It was hugely beneficial to discuss progress with Mrs Jones as she gave an outside opinion on our set construction, we did find ourselves changing some aspects of our design under instruction, however this only made the design better as opposed to worse. We would also be able to know how much space we would be working with, where our props can be positioned and be able to design them according to the space allocated.